Oil prices extended a three-day rally to near $US73 a barrel on Thursday, the highest in almost eight months, on rising hopes the recession has bottomed out.
The International Energy Agency said it revised its outlook for global oil demand higher for the first time since August, two days after the U.S. government's energy forecaster did the same.
"These revisions do not necessarily imply the beginnings of a global economic recovery, and may only signal the bottoming out of the recession," the Paris-based adviser to 28 industrialized nations said.
US crude rose $US1.35 to $US72.68 a barrel, the highest settlement since 20 October, after peaking earlier in the session at $US73.23.
London Brent crude gained 99 cents to $US71.79 a barrel.
Oil prices have jumped nearly 7% in three days.
Meanwhile, US data showing an increase in retail sales in May and a slowdown in weekly jobless claims reinforced perceptions that the deterioration of the world's top economy was easing.
Wall Street rose after the data while the U.S. dollar lost ground against the euro.
Adding support to energy markets was data from China, the second-largest oil consumer, showing oil imports in May rose 5.5% from a year ago, the second-highest volume on record.